Retail task force coming to Bay Area amid spike in shoplifting

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — San Francisco is ranked number five out of the 10 top cities in the U.S. for organized crime.

That is why the president of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce welcomes the announcement of the CHP led organized retail task force coming to the Bay Area.

Governor Gavin Newsom signed the organized retail crime task force legislation, which sends a signal that help is on the way for Bay Area retailers overwhelmed by shoplifters.

That sense of urgency is coming from the president of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce Rodney Fong. He says the chamber has been active on the state level lobbying for safer streets as the city recovers economically from the pandemic

“For San Francisco to fully recover economically, 1/3 of San Francisco’s economy is tourism-based, so it is very important that we build that consumer confidence,” Fong said. “Also, the confidence of business owners and shopkeepers going to work and employees to feel safe to stand in front of that counter subjecting themselves potentially to harm. we want to make sure that is removed.”

“We were the sponsors of the bill,” Rachel Michelin, president of the California Retailers Association, said. “So we brought the bill forward.”

Although the California Highway Patrol will be the lead agency for the organized retail theft task force, the president and CEO of the California Retailers Association, Rachel Michelin, says that doesn’t mean cup officers will patrolling shopping isles inside of retail stores

“They’re not as visible as that. They are working behind the scenes pulling these cases together and doing a lot of the investigations. Hopefully, we will see more programs coming out that might be a bit more visible and that is something that we want to do,” Michelin said. “We want our consumers. We want our employees. We want the city of San Francisco to be safe because San Francisco has always been a mecca for retail. I mean that’s where you go and we want to bring that shining glory back to the city.”

The task force will be set up regionally in three locations throughout the state, San Diego, Los Angeles, and the Golden Gate region in the Bay Area.

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